‘Lacklustre’ January for retailers

Retail sales were ‘lacklustre’ in January, with ‘weak’ big ticket items sales.

The cost of living and poor weather deterred shoppers, according to British Retail Consortium and KPMG.

Total retail sales across the UK edged up by just 1.2% year-on-year in January, a drop from the 4.2% rise in 2023.

Spending held up during the start of the month as consumers took advantage of winter sales discounts but this failed to continue as the month continued.

‘Larger purchases, such as furniture, household appliances, and electricals, remained weak as the higher cost of living continued into its third year,’ says Helen Dickinson, BRC ceo.

Clothing and footwear sales performed badly, while there was an small rise in health and beauty product sales, according to Dickinson.

Linda Ellett, KPMG UK head of consumer markets, leisure and retail, says the high street’s performance was ‘lacklustre’ and that the ‘feel-good factor’ from mortgage rates and inflation dropping had yet to be felt by shoppers.

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